Canadian Freshwater Aquaculture Conference 2020 [CANCELLED]


Dear Conference Delegates,

It is with a heavy heart that we cancel this year’s Canadian Freshwater Aquaculture Conference amid the growing public health concern of COVID-19.

The safety of our aquaculture industry and all of its members is our single most important priority. After listening to member concerns and conducting a risk assessment, the board of directors made the difficult decision to call off this year’s gathering.

We’re saddened because this conference was shaping up to be the best one yet, with several esteemed keynote speakers, record-high registrations from across the sector, including nine First Nations communities, a visit from the Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, and plenty of seafood and social festivities.

We ask that you and your families stay safe by practicing social distancing and heightened personal hygiene. And we look forward to when this public health emergency has subsided, and we can come together again.

If you paid registration fees for the conference: We will issue you a full refund through PayPal.

If you reserved a hotel room: Fern Resort has generously agreed to waive our cancellation fees if we host our next conference there in April 2021. If you put a deposit of $150 on your room, you have two options:

  1. Fern will hold onto your full deposit and apply against next year’s conference tentatively scheduled for April 7 – 8, 2021.
  2. Fern will refund your deposit now, minus a $50 service charge.

Please notify Fern Resort of your option before March 31 by calling 1-800-567-3376.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact RJ Taylor at

— The Ontario Aquaculture Association Board of Directors

April 7 – 8, 2020    |    Orillia, Ontario

Don’t miss the first-ever gathering of farmers, suppliers and researchers working in Canada’s freshwater aquaculture sector — low sodium guaranteed!

Conference Program

Tuesday, April 7

  • 2:00 – 5:00pm — Strategic Workshop & Annual General Meeting for the Ontario Aquaculture Association (members only)
  • 7:00pm onwards — Our annual pre-conference tailgater social!

Wednesday, April 8

Conference day is open to all with an interest in freshwater aquaculture. Breakfast, lunch and social evenings are all part of the event.

  • 8:00am — Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 5:00pm — Conference day open to ALL with an interest in freshwater aquaculture.
  • 5:30 – 6:30pm — Reception
  • 7:00pm onwards — Gala Dinner & Social Evening

Panels and presentations so far include:

Keynote Speakers

  • Chi-Naaknigewin: Understanding Indigenous governance and how it applies to aquaculture, Dawn Madahbee Leach, General Manager, Waubetek Business Development Corporation
  • Crisis communications: Addressing situations to allow corporate reputations to thrive, Joel Richardson, Vice President Public Relations, Cooke Inc.
  • Insights from the front lines: The latest consumer trends in seafood, Ron Caudle, President, Caudles Catch Seafood

Theme 1: Fish Health

  • Fish welfare: New considerations and the coming national code of practice for finfish
    • Rich Moccia, Professor & Director, Aquaculture Centre, University of Guelph
    • Caroline Ramsay, Code Manager, National Farm Animal Care Council
    • Penny Lawlis, Lead Auditor, Professional Livestock Auditing Inc.
  • Tools and techniques for delaying maturation in finfish, Marcia Chiasson, Manager, Alma Aquaculture Research Station
  • Veterinary perspectives on preventative health strategies,
    • Alexandra Reid, Lead Veterinarian Animal Health and Welfare, Ontario, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Mykolas Kamaitis, Veterinarian, Upper Grand Veterinary Services
    • Véronique (Nikki) LePage, Veterinarian, LePage Aquatic Veterinary Services & Aquatic Animal Pathologist, Animal Health Lab, University of Guelph 
  • Increasing fillet yield through nutrition, genetics and farm practices, John Woodhouse, Aquaculture Consultant, Bluewater Fish Feed, a division of Sharpe Farm Supplies

Theme 2: The Marketplace

  • Considering feed in marketing and certification decisions, Sarah Cook, Sales Manager, Skretting North America East
  • Aquaculture in the classroom: AgScape’s new resources for teachers, Mercedes Unwin, Program and Resource Manager, AgScape
  • New Ontario provincial fish processing regulations, Michael McQuire, Aquaculture and Aquaponics Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Theme 3: Technology and Science

  • Implications of intensification on water flow and energy, Dan Stechey, President, Canadian Aquaculture Systems
  • The bird feeder effect: net pens as sources of energy for wild fish populations, Neil Rooney, Associate Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph
  • Technology spotlight: Deep Trekker, Andrew Lawrence, Business Development Specialist Deep Trekker
  • Technology spotlight: ME-PRO, Mark Luecke, CEO, Prairie AquaTech
  • Fish farming cost reductions with efficient oxygenation, Henning Gatz, President, AquaCare

More to come! Do you have a session idea? Email RJ Taylor, OAA’s managing director, at

Conference Venue

Fern Resort
4432 Fern Resort Rd, Ramara, Ontario
One hour from Toronto’s Pearson Airport!

Fern Resort is family-owned, just like most of Canada’s freshwater aquaculture businesses! Known as the “Home of the Rolls & Honey”, the incredible meals, gorgeous views, fun activities and terrific service have kept guests coming back for generations.

A block of rooms has been reserved for the nights of April 7 and 8 for $189/night + resort fees.

There are also several cottages for groups of 3 – 4. To request one, email

Please see this form for reservation options.

Conference Registration

Register on Event Bee

  • Full Conference & Gala (Includes registration fee, all meals and social evening) — $229
  • Discounted Conference (For speakers and ‘Individual’ OAA members) — $179

All corporate members of the Ontario Aquaculture Association receive TWO free registrations to the conference. Please sign up all additional registrants at the discounted rate.

What’s happening to this year’s Ontario Aquaculture Association conference?

The Canadian Freshwater Aquaculture Conference is this year’s OAA conference, only bigger. For years, the annual Ontario conference has attracted fish farmers from across Canada because of our close-knit community and unique concentration of small and medium-sized farms. For 2020, we’re just making it official!